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ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 are History

ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 were separate documents that were part of a series of standards for Quality Management Systems, and were first introduced by the ISO organization ( in 1987. The standards gave requirements for creating a Quality Management System, often called a QMS, based on documented procedures that defined separate areas of quality management. When they were first introduced, a company would decide which of the standards they should be certified to: ISO 9001 for design and production, ISO 9002 for production or ISO 9003 for inspection and testing, depending on which type of industry the company was in or what the company did. Below is an explanation of what the ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 standards were for, and what they included, but it is important to know that a company can no longer be registered to either of these standards as of the year 2000.

ISO 9002:1987

ISO 9002, first published in 1987, described how to implement a Quality Management System for the manufacture and delivery of products. There were 18 sections for which a documented procedure needed to be written, and the mantra of the standard was “Document what you do, then do what you document.”

The standard was focused on industries that produced products rather than service-based industries.

Note: In 1987, ISO 9001 was identical to ISO 9002 with the addition of requirements for design control and product service.

ISO 9003:1987

ISO 9003, also released in 1987, provided requirements for a Quality Management System exclusively for inspections and testing, and basically stripped away any requirements that dealt with the manufacture or servicing of products. This standard was used almost exclusively by warehouse and resale industries where the company itself did not manufacture the parts, but only stocked and sold the product. These industries would be focused on ensuring that product they purchased was properly inspected in order to meet the needs of customers they re-sold the product to.

ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 Timeline

All three of the standards: ISO 9001, ISO 9002 & ISO 9003, were updated in 1994 with minor changes, but the requirements were still focused on production-based industries. In 2000, ISO 9001 was updated from a “document everything” approach to a more process-based approach for Quality Management Systems. This also made the standard more applicable to service-based industries and added the ability of a company to exclude certain sections of the requirements, such as design for companies that only build to customer design. By allowing the exclusions from some requirements, the need for separate documents (ISO 9001, ISO 9002 & ISO 9003) was removed and the ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 standards were rendered obsolete. From 2000 onward, companies could not have their Quality Management System certified to ISO 9002 or ISO 9003, and a company could only certify an ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

For information on a Quality Management System for ISO 9001 see  What is ISO 9001.

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.